Er Doc, does it really have to go in there?

It’s often written that beagles love to hang out with others of their breed, but finding other beagles in our area has proved surprisingly difficult. Consequently we had a great time on Saturday when we ran into another female beagle called Tess.

Poor Tess spent the first few years of her life purely as breeding stock on a so-called “puppy farm”. She was forced to have litter after litter in rapid succession, and by all accounts had a pretty miserable existence. Her new owner has been gently coaxing her out of her shell, and I think her meeting with little Beanie probably helped. They had a great time together running about the park – such a great time in fact, that we let Beanie have rather more exercise than is generally recommended. She didn’t show any signs of fatigue during play, but when we finally got her back to the car she went straight to sleep.


Back at home, Beanie received a generous helping of milk, scrambled eggs and cheese, and was then put in her crate to have a good long nap. It was when she awoke some five hours later that things started go wrong. She refused any further food, and wouldn’t even drink. Thinking she was just overtired, Susan cooked up a chicken breast and finally managed to get her to eat most of it. Ten minutes later though, the chicken was sitting in an undigested heap on the carpet, and Beanie was looking decidedly unwell.

As the day wore on, things got worse: she was reluctant to drink, and continued to be sick. We rang the helpline that’s provided with Beanie’s insurance, and of course while we were on the phone the little rascal perked up and started attacking the carpet. This brought the call to a quick end and we were happy that Beanie was on the mend. Unfortunately, the recovery was shortlived. By late evening she couldn’t hold down even a teaspoonful of water, had been sick eight times and was extremely lethargic. We got worried again, called the helpline and this time were advised to take her to the vet.

In our area, out of hours veterinary care is provided by Pets A&E in Glasgow. It was easy to find, and in less than twenty minutes I was anxiously ringing the buzzer while Susan clutched our sick little bundle. Once inside, Beanie was immediately on the receiving end of top notch care from an experienced vet and cuddles from the nurse. A human going to the A&E department of a hospital never gets treated that well!

Unfortunately for Beanie, she was also on the receiving end of a thermometer, and it wasn’t going in her mouth. She took it remarkably well, though she did squirm enough for the vet to comment “keep still sweetheart, it doesn’t go round bends”. After a thorough examination, Beanie got an injection to suppress the vomiting and we were on our way home with a few cans of bland but easily tolerated dog food. The injection worked brilliantly and by four in the morning (yes, we both stayed up with our poorly pup) she was drinking water and keeping it down. Her recovery continued, but only until the effect of the injection wore off.

On Monday we were back at the vets with a lethargic pup that couldn’t keep anything down and was refusing even to drink. Once again the thermometer was driven the wrong way up Beanie’s one-way street, and her abdomen was checked by the vet’s expert fingers. This time, however, things seemed more serious. All her vitals were good, but the vet was concerned about the possibility of a foreign body in her gut, which could require an operation. More tests would be needed in order to make the decision whether to operate or not, and Beanie would have to stay at the practice for a few hours while they were carried out. A consent form was produced and the vet guided me through exactly what I was about to sign. There was never any question about whether I would give consent – Beanie was ill and if she needed an op, she’d have to have it. But I could barely bring myself to focus on the form. I just kept thinking about how much Beanie was already an integral part of lives. She’d only been with us a few weeks and now it was looking like we’d let her swallow something that could threaten her life. I signed, we said our goodbyes to Beanie and then headed back to our uncomfortably quiet home to wait for the vet’s phone call.

When the call came, it was great news. There was nothing to indicate a foreign body, so the most likely cause of the illness was some kind of bug. She’d get another anti-vomit shot, some more of the foul smelling but stomach-friendly food, and some antibiotics. No operation, no more time without our little treasure, and nothing to beat ourselves up about for being bad doggy parents!

Well, now it’s a few days later and those antibiotics are really doing their thing. Beanie is back to being a whirlwind of naughty beagleness – in fact if anything she’s trying to make up for lost play time. I’ve already had to lift her off the chairs and extract my shoelaces from her mouth countless times today, but the seemingly impossible has happened: I actually love this little long eared rascal even more than I did a week ago.